Australia

Architecture

Military VR programs are working to train soldiers to deal with pressure

TwitterFacebook

Black Mirror is way ahead of us again. 

Virtual reality training is being developed as a method to equip troops with resilience training before deployment — something a Black Mirror episode toyed with in season three.

Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, has announced $2.2 million for a University of Newcastle project that aims to develop enhanced resilience training for military personnel using VR and biometrics.

The program, which will work in conjunction with the ADF’s existing Battle SMART stress resilience training program, will see neuroscientists designing simulated environments to replicate real-world combat scenarios in VR. Read more…

More about Australia, Military, Vr, Research, and Army

Business

Lawmakers try their hand at banning ticketing bots, but it’s not the end of them

TwitterFacebook

The pain of narrowly missing out on concert tickets is an all too common feeling.

While we might be quick to blame our reflexes, scalpers employing bots have been wreaking havoc in the now mostly digital ticket selling business. 

The Australian state of New South Wales will ban these ticket bots as part of laws passed on Wednesday, which makes it the first jurisdiction in the country to do so.

The Fair Trading Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Gift Cards) Bill 2017 outlaws the use of bots, while also capping the transaction cost of resales to 10 percent of its sale price. Read more…

More about Tech, Australia, Bots, Tickets, and Ticket Scalpers

Architecture

Large-scale sculptures take over the Australian coastline

TwitterFacebook

Burger bait. A cavalcade of charging horses. A plastic bubble paradise. They’re all sitting on the coastline of Australia.

Every year, the two-kilometre coastal walk from Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Tamarama becomes an open-air gallery for the celebrated Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, with selected artists invited to install sculptural works along the shoreline for three weeks in spring.

Started in 1997 and now featuring 100 works every year, it’s one of Australia’s most popular, free, annual events, attracting half a million visitors in 2016. Read more…

More about Australia, Art, Sculpture, Sydney, and Sculptures

Business

Radio host discovers she got paid less than her male co-host. So he took a pay cut.

TwitterFacebook

Take note, men.

Comedians Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek are both hosts on KIIS FM, a radio station in Sydney, Australia. They do the same job, ribbing off each other as you do on an afternoon show, but Langbroek was getting paid significantly less than her male counterpart.

“I found out last year that you get paid 40 per cent more than I do for doing this show,” she said on air back on International Women’s Day in March. 

Hughes was aghast at the revelation, and said he felt “terrible.” Up until that point, the pair had never discussed how much they get paid. Read more…

More about Business, Media, Australia, Radio, and Gender Pay Gap

Architecture

New Zealanders worry about a ‘chipocalypse’ as potato supply drops

TwitterFacebook

We don’t want to ever live in a world where there is a “chipocalypse.”

No wonder New Zealanders are concerned at the prospect, as 20 percent of potato crops have been lost due to extended periods of wet weather, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Supermarkets have indicated to the newspaper there might be a shortage in potato crisps, as manufacturers have a smaller cut of potato crops in the country. Normal potato supply won’t return until the new year.

When the chips are down, people are going to freak out — a bit — on social media. Read more…

More about Australia, Food, New Zealand, Chips, and Culture

Business

Australia tries to solve its bike-sharing dumping problem

TwitterFacebook

Singapore-based, dockless bike-sharing service oBike fished 42 bikes out of Melbourne’s Yarra River in one day.

Suffice it to say, something has to be done about the high instances of bike-share dumping — and slowly but surely, local councils around the world are taking the lead.

Dockless bike-sharing services have become synonymous with large, unsightly piles of dumped bikes, or bikes left in unusual locations, up trees, in rivers, or just scattered haphazardly around city streets.

This is not where you return your #obike#melbourne #victoria pic.twitter.com/C6V3V3BVB2

— Paul Wong (@___pw___) September 19, 2017 Read more…

More about Australia, Melbourne, Bikes, Bike, and Bike Sharing

Business

Australia launches a world-first national reporting tool for revenge porn

TwitterFacebook

Taking steps to reporting and removing revenge porn, a.k.a image-based abuse, can be arduous, both emotionally and regarding the amount of steps required to get it done.

Australia’s government is aiming to make the process simpler, with the launch of a national portal for reporting instances of image-based abuse.

The portal will allow victims to report revenge porn online, and provide immediate access to support that had been previously been unavailable, according to a statement. A pilot phase will examine the complexity and the volume of the reports before the portal officially launches early next year. Read more…

More about Tech, Australia, Social Media, Revenge Porn, and Tech

Business

Drone-delivered burritos are a real thing, at least for a lucky few

TwitterFacebook

The future is here, and boy is it spicy. Alphabet’s Project Wing announced Monday that it will start delivering burritos to hungry customers via drone. That’s right, you can soon have heavenly manna slathered in Australian Jack cheese dropped right on your head — that is, if you happen to live in the outskirts of the Australian Capital Territory.

Project Wing, one of Alphabet’s “moonshot factories” under the X umbrella, is testing delivery drones and has selected the relatively remote area for its latest voyage into the tinfoil-wrapped unknown. In addition to Mexican food from a chain, the company will also ferry medication on behalf of a pharmacy.  Read more…

More about Google, Australia, Drones, Alphabet, and Project Wing

Architecture

Sam Smith pledges thousands of dollars to Australia’s pro-marriage equality campaign

TwitterFacebook

Now that’s putting money where your mouth is.

UK singer Sam Smith has made a considerable donation to the Australian pro-marriage equality campaign, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. 

The Grammy-winning artist has pledged a third of the expected profits from his January 2018 show at the Sydney Opera House to lobby group Australian Marriage Equality.

Australians are smack bang in the middle of a non-binding, non-compulsory nationwide postal survey asking the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Read more…

More about Music, Australia, Sam Smith, Sydney, and Marriage Equality

Architecture

Australia, where people pick sharks out of pools

TwitterFacebook

Australia might have a lot of sharks, but we try not to mess with them.

Not so for Melissa Hatheier from Sydney, Australia, who picked up a one-metre shark from a rock pool and placed it back into the ocean.

The video was posted to the Cronulla Real Estate Facebook page on Tuesday, which is a kind of a weird way to promote houses, but you know what, this is Australia after all.

“Our in house Shark Wrangler Melissa Hatheier wrestling a shark out of Oak Park Rock Pool yesterday morning! Nice work Mel,” reads the Facebook caption. Read more…

More about Australia, Animals, Shark, Sharks, and Social Media

Business

Australia’s facial recognition database will now include driver’s licence photos

TwitterFacebook

Move over Face ID, the Australian government has eclipsed you on the creepy factor.

It’ll allow for photos from government I.D.s and licenses to be added to a national facial recognition database, making it easier for the country’s law enforcement agencies to identify people in real time.

The announcement was made on Thursday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, following an agreement between all the country’s states and territories. It will be up and running next year, and the government says the database will help bolster national security. Read more…

More about Tech, Politics, Australia, Cybersecurity, and Facial Recognition

Architecture

Discovery of World War II shipwreck ends a 74-year mystery

TwitterFacebook

For 74 years, the merchant ship SS Macumba lay lost beneath the depths of the Arafura Sea, off the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory.

It was attacked back in August 1943 by two Japanese aircraft, who scored a direct hit on the ship’s engine room. Three seamen were killed, and survivors were taken aboard an escort. 

The ship was left to sink, and its whereabouts remained unknown for decades.

The SS Macumba.

The SS Macumba.

Image: Marine National Facility

That’s until researchers from the CSIRO aboard the RV Investigator discovered the shipwreck on Wednesday morning, during a survey of the area. Read more…

More about Australia, Csiro, Shipwreck, World War Ii, and Shipwrecks

Business

Freight train with no driver is one step closer to a fully-autonomous rail system

TwitterFacebook

Look, it’s just a hunch, but careering down long stretches of Australia’s desert would be quite fatiguing. On the flipside, it’d make an ideal location to operate a driverless train system. 

It’s something mining company Rio Tinto are betting on in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with its AutoHaul system — which the company claims to be world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance rail network.

One of Rio Tinto’s trains has completed a near 100 kilometre pilot run without a driver on board, making it the first ever fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever in Australia, according to a company statement. Read more…

More about Tech, Australia, Transportation, Train, and Trains

Architecture

Nokia’s releasing the iconic 3310 in 3G, and Australia’s getting it first

TwitterFacebook

Don’t worry folks, you’ll get your dose of Snake — the resurrected Nokia 3310 is being released in 3G.

Earlier this year, we got a little excited about the rebooting of the Nokia 3310 from Finnish startup HMD. Announcing a smaller, lighter, upgraded version of the classic 2000 phone at the Mobile World Congress in Feb. 2017, HMD rolled out the phone in 2G in May and June this year.

The bad news for thirsty, nostalgic types was that the phone relied on 2.5G connectivity, which requires 2G networks — and they’re being very slowly decommissioned in many countries including Singapore, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the U.S. Read more…

More about Australia, Nokia, Phone, Phones, and 2g

Business

How an Australian VR gaming studio scored a gig with Boeing to train astronauts

TwitterFacebook

For Australian game studio Opaque Space, you could say life has been imitating art recently.

The Melbourne-based studio is behind Earthlight, a virtual reality game that is possibly the closest you can get to walking in space without being there, which has gotten plenty of attention from NASA.

Now Boeing has hired Opaque Space to help with future capabilities on a VR training system the aerospace company has developed for its forthcoming CST-100 Starliner capsule. 

The spacecraft’s primary function is to transport NASA astronauts and other crew members to and from the International Space Station. Read more…

More about Tech, Gaming, Space, Australia, and Science

Architecture

Marine biologist captures ‘blue hole’ in the Great Barrier Reef

TwitterFacebook

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef already offers plenty of wonder, but dang, this blue hole is pretty cool.

It was apparently found by marine biologist Johnny Gaskell, who said he spotted the blue hole on Google Maps. He went to check it out with a team, despite it being far offshore, “further than our normal Reef trips.”

“What we found inside was hard to believe, considering five months ago a Category 4 cyclone went straight over the top of it,” Gaskell said in a statement via email. 

Anyway, they managed to capture the inside of the hidden lagoon, and it looks it was like a fun adventure: Read more…

More about Australia, Environment, Coral, Great Barrier Reef, and Coral Reef

Architecture

Coca-Cola with coffee: Meet the ‘Nuts and Gum’ of sodas

TwitterFacebook

The humble soda hasn’t been getting a lot of good press lately, but you know what everyone still loves? Coffee.

It might just be why Coca-Cola has latched onto our favourite caffeinated beverage, combining it into the (not so catchily named) Coca-Cola Plus Coffee No Sugar.

The soda is launching first in Australia as a limited edition item ahead of the country’s summer, following the hype from Coca-Cola Ginger, which was released same time last year. 

Here’s what it apparently tastes like, according to the company’s press release: Read more…

More about Australia, Food, Coca Cola, Drink, and Drinks

Business

iPhone 8 still manages to draw substantial crowd, despite the iPhone X that’s coming

TwitterFacebook

It turns out people still care about the iPhone 8, despite the looming shadow of the flagship iPhone X coming out in a couple of months.

A crowd of around 200 people made their way to Singapore’s Apple store, before the official launch on the morning of Sept. 22.

43-year-old Amin Dholiya was first in line. The businessman, who flew in from India especially to buy an iPhone 8 as a wedding gift for his daughter began queueing at 7 p.m. (GMT +8) on Thursday — approximately 12 hours before the launch of the phone at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Image: YVETTE TAN/MASHABLE Read more…

More about Apple, Iphone, Australia, Singapore, and Sydney

Architecture

Goldfish, released into the wild, are somehow surviving in saltwater

TwitterFacebook

In case you didn’t know, goldfish aren’t meant to survive in saltwater.

Yet that’s what James Tweedley and researchers from the Centre of Fish and Fisheries at Murdoch University discovered in the Vasse and Wonnerup estuaries, located in south-western Australia. 

They’ve been surveying the invasion of goldfish in these waterways, the results of which have been published in an article in the journal, International Aquatic Research. And well, it’s not looking good.

“If you have a goldfish at home, you’d just put it in a tank with tap water which has a salinity of zero,” Tweedley explained. “By comparison the ocean has a salinity of about 35, and we found [the goldfish] in about 17 — which is halfway between the two, but a lot more than we’d expect.” Read more…

More about Australia, Science, Fish, Western Australia, and Goldfish